Starting today, we will extend availability of our current Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM builds to the developer and IT professional communities via MSDN and TechNet subscriptions. The Windows 8.1 RTM Enterprise edition will be available through MSDN and TechNet for businesses later this month. Additionally, today we’re making available the Visual Studio 2013 Release Candidate which you can download here.
We heard from you that our decision to not initially release Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM bits was a big challenge for our developer partners as they’re readying new Windows 8.1 apps and for IT professionals who are preparing for Windows 8.1 deployments. We’ve listened, we value your partnership, and we are adjusting based on your feedback. As we refine our delivery schedules for a more rapid release cadence, we are working on the best way to support early releases to the various audiences within our ecosystem.
In providing the best developer tools to our customers, Visual Studio 2013 RC enables development teams to build, deliver and manage compelling apps that take advantage of today’s devices and services. With the release of Visual Studio 2013 RC, we’ve made available additional features and functionality to enhance developer and development team productivity and agility. For more information of what’s new in Visual Studio 2013 see today’s blog post from S. Somasegar.
With these updated platform and tools bits, developers will be able to build and test their Windows 8.1 apps. The RTM versions of tools, services, and platform are required for store submissions which will open up for new Windows 8.1 apps beginning at general availability on October 18.
Given the accelerated rate of technological advancement we continue to see in the industry and here at Microsoft, it’s an exciting time to be an app builder. We recognize the critical role developers play—the breadth of our apps ecosystem is a key pillar of the Windows experience. It’s an essential end-to-end relationship – we deliver the tools, services and platform to give developers the flexibility and opportunity to innovate and build experiences for Windows that make all our lives more productive and fun.
We also recognize that our commercial customers need time to perform application compatibility and other testing and validation to best plan for their Windows 8.1 deployments following general availability on October 18.
The primary purpose of Windows 8.1 RTM and Visual Studio 2013 RC availability is for testing as our engineering teams continue to refine and update the product and tools in preparation for Windows 8.1 general availability on October 18 and the release of Visual Studio 2013 RTW. Third party apps may require final refinement to onboard into the Windows Store at the October 18 GA milestone. However, we’re confident this pre-release will enable developers to ready their Windows 8.1 apps for customers while validating their existing apps function as expected on Windows 8.1
Similarly, we continue to validate the Windows Server 2012 R2 software with our partners and expect to make further updates to the build for general availability on October 18 as well.
We are pleased to provide non-production support for Windows Store app development and testing for Windows 8.1, via forums and assisted support channels. For links to those resources, along with existing Windows 8 support options, please visit the Dev Center support options page. We will also provide assisted support for Windows 8.1 RTM and Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM through standard commercial support channels.
We are excited about the innovation we are delivering in such a short amount of time, and are pleased to be able to share these pre-releases with the communities. Thanks for your continued support and feedback, you can reach out to me anytime, either using the comments here or on twitter @StevenGuggs.